Sunday, June 29, 2008

Time for private companies to fill the public transportation gap?

With gas prices skyrocketing and more people looking to ditch their cars in any way possible, it's a shame that so many public transit agencies are short for the cash they need to improve operations and infrastructure. Freight rail companies are now enjoying an increase in their freight rail business.

What I'm wondering is, why don't some railroads try their hand at some regular passenger rail service again? Is there just too much red tape or are the freight companies perhaps unwilling to sacrifice their level of freight service? At any rate, I think now would be a great time for some forward-thinking railroads to look into the possibility of operating some small-time commuter rail service along some strategic routes.

Is it a simple matter of getting some used rail coaches and installing a few parking lots and platforms? I'm guessing it's a lot more complicated than that (passenger cars need power, while boxcars don't).

There are likely a lot of logistical issues, but I think certain railroads could at least consider the possibility of providing some commuter rail links where state-run agencies are behind due to funding issues and heavy regulations.

Anyway, it's perhaps wishful thinking at this point. What do you think? Feel free to post a response.